Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fakin' Jamaican

Janel is in China--but never fear, loyal readers, she will be returning home this weekend, which means Janelisa will be back and cookin' up a storm in no time! In the meantime, you can check out what kinds of crazy Asian fare Janel is enjoying here.

Chicago is rainy and gray today, so to celebrate everything that Chicago is not, I made a Jamaican-style Black Bean and Coconut Cornbread Bake for my family:

After much perusing and squinting at the tiny labels on all the jars in the spice section of Jewel, I found Cajun seasoning and
decided that that was probably in the right ball park. Coconut milk also took me a while to find. I looked for it among the other milk variations (soy, almond, etc) but it actually comes in a can and is sold in the Asian food section--I think it's heavily used in Thai foods, like curry.

After reading over the recipe, I thought the cornmeal/flour/coconut milk mixture would end up
being too liquid-y. It wasn't, but there was significantly less of it
than there were beans/corn/tomatoes. Two 15 oz. cans of beans is a lot! If you are a big fan of carbs (which my family is), I would suggest preparing more of the cornbread mixture and reducing the amount of vegetables. That way, your final dish will be more of an entree than a vegetable side.

Also, a teeny-tiny label on the side of the can of coconut milk reads: "Coconut milk naturally separates and hardens. Shake well before opening and stir before using." Do that! I didn't see the label and thus opened the can and started spooning out coconut "milk" that had the consistency of soft butter...and then I discovered all the liquid at the bottom.

I didn't really taste the seasoning in the final dish, but I like mild foods so that was okay. The cornbread topping was really yummy--slightly sweet, with a hint of coconut flavor.

(Hey, the rain has stopped!)

With plenty of love and sprinkles,

Ps- were any other fellow Chicago Groupon-ers disappointed to see that all 10,000(!) Flat-Top groupons were sold out by 9:30 this morning? Crazy!